The key etiquette considerations on how to serve and drink Sangria. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.


What Sangria etiquette is

Sangria etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Sangria. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Sangria etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect Sangria etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.

What you should know about Sangria

Sangria is a punch-type alcoholic beverage. It is typical of Spain and Portugal.

There are many Sangria recipes. The main ingredients are red wine and chopped fruit. Other spirits or ingredients can be added. In general, the alcohol content is around 10% or 12%.

how to serve and drink sangria

Etiquette tips to serve and drink Sangria

1) How to store Sangria

Once you have prepared Sangria, store it in the fridge. Keep it in a carafe. Seal it with plastic to prevent it from oxidizing.

Avoid keeping Sangria outside, or storing it in the freezer. Warm or cold temperatures risk spoiling it.

In the fridge, Sangria can last for 2 to 3 days. 

2) How to prepare Sangria

Prepare Sangria a few hours before serving, or the day before. This way the ingredients can “rest” and the fruit can soak up the wine.

Traditional fruits in Sangria are: 

It is common to add citruses, such as lemon, lime, or orange juice. Sweeten it with sugar. Increase the alcohol content with spirits, such as brandy or a liqueur. 

Sangria is usually made with Spanish and Portuguese red wine. Such as Rioja or similar Tempranillo wines. 

The most important etiquette rule for homemade Sangria is to choose high-quality ingredients. Especially the wine and spirits. Low-quality alcohol leads to poor-quality Sangria.

3) How to serve & present Sangria

Serve Sangria chilled. The ideal temperature is around 12°C (54°F). You may or may not add ice.

Serve Sangria in tumblers or in white wine glasses. You do not need to chill the glasses in the fridge before serving.

Present Sangria in a carafe or in a punch bowl with a punch ladle. 

4) When to serve & drink Sangria

Sangria is a light, sweet drink. It is ideal in the summertime or with warm weather. While it is uncommon in cold weather.

Serve light Sangria on informal occasions. It is not well suited for formal occasions. You can serve it during brunch, for a picnic or barbecue, or after dinner. Sangria is too sweet for an aperitivo or pre-meal drinks. 

Sangria is not ideal to accompany a fruit salad or dessert. Since it already includes chopped fruit and other sweet ingredients, it risks being redundant.

5) Food & aromas to pair Sangria with

The ideal Sangria pairings depend on which wine and fruits are used to make Sangria. 

In general, Sangria can go well with Spanish food, or with spicy Mexican food.

Serve Sangria to accompany guacamole, tacos, or paella. Match it with Spanish cheese and charcuterie. Queso Manchego. Chorizo. Jamon Serrano. 

6) How to drink Sangria

Drink Sangria as it is served. It is not polite to add other ingredients. It would imply that you do not like it.

Drink it in a large tumbler or in a white wine glass. When Sangria is served in a stemmed glass, always hold the glass by its stem. Otherwise, the heat from your hand will warm Sangria.

Do not drink shots of Sangria. Sip it as you would sip a glass of light wine. A glass of Sangria should last for 10 to 20 minutes.

Treat the fruit chops as ice cubes. Do not allow them into your mouth straight from the glass. Instead, after you finish the wine, pick the fruit up with a fork or your fingers and eat them.

sangria etiquette mistakes

Sangria serving & drinking etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

When serving or drinking Sangria, avoid the worst etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Getting drunk. 
  • 7/10. Serving Sangria warm.
  • 7/10. Making Sangria with low-quality wine.
  • 4/10. Drinking the fruit chops from the glass. 
  • 3/10. Drinking Sangria with a straw.

Additional information for properly serving Sangria

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

The calories in Sangria depend on the recipe. On average, light Sangria contains about 65 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). An individual serving is a wine glass of 150 ml (5.0 oz). It contains 98 calories.

How to buy the best Sangria

A crucial factor in Sangria etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Choose the best

Best-quality Sangria is homemade. Make sure that you use high-quality wine and fruits.

Alternatives to Sangria

The most popular alternative to Sangria is Tinto de Verano.